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A Guide to Starting a Property Business in 2024

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A Guide to Starting a Property Business in 2024
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Caught the entrepreneurial bug? If starting a property business is calling your name, there’s no better time to bring your business idea to life. Real estate is a thriving industry in the UK, generating a turnover of over £65 billion in 2022, so you’ve certainly picked a popular sector to be a part of.


Starting your own business can be life-changing - there’s no feeling quite like being your own boss! But you may experience trials and tribulations along the way as you navigate entrepreneurship. With the right preparation, you’ll know exactly how to handle these challenges and learn from them along the way.


Our guide will cover exactly how to start a property business, including the current property landscape in the UK. We’ll also explain just how easy it is to form your company through SUAZ, to take some weight off your shoulders as you begin your new venture.


Are you ready to start a property business?


Starting a property business is a major life decision, so it’s important you assess your readiness before diving straight in. Starting your own company requires a lot of commitment and dedication, which you’ll need to make sure you have the time for. You’ll need to wrap your head around the business jargon and regulations that may apply to your business, and make sure you’re both emotionally and financially prepared for your new venture. 


To confirm whether you’re ready to start your business, you’ll need to make sure you have the passion and commitment, the funds to get things going and a comprehensive business plan that outlines your business goals, financial projections and objectives. As long as you’re prepared and have the drive to succeed, there’s no reason why you aren’t ready to start a property business. We believe you have what it takes.


The landscape of the property market in 2024


The UK’s property market has seen significant change in recent years, particularly due to economic factors such as the cost of living crisis, which has impacted mortgage rates and house prices.


If you’re looking to start a property business, you’ll be pleased to know that the housing market is certainly picking up following a period of decline. With house prices falling at their fastest rate in 13 years in November 2023, and a recent dip in mortgage rates, it’s predicted that the market could recover considerably this year. 


Overall buyer demand is up by 6%, after many movers held off from buying while they waited for the market to improve. Mortgage rates are slowly dropping, with five-year fixed rates for those remortgaging coming in below 4% as lenders compete against each other. For those purchasing a new home, the cheapest fixed rate available as of January 2024 is a five-year fixed rate of 3.92%. According to data from Moneyfacts, pricing is now at a seven-month low which is good news for buyers who have been holding off moving or buying their first home. 


Luke Meadows, Executive Mortgage Consultant at Mortgage Link Limited says; “In a bid to tackle inflation, we saw the Bank of England increase their base rate 14 times in 2 years. In recent months we have started to see more stability in rates as inflation improves but mortgages are still significantly more expensive than they were just a couple of years ago. During Covid, I secured a 5 year fixed for clients sub 1%. These deals are now typically 4%+ and rose to 6% at times last year.


“The general consensus is that we are now through the worst and things will remain a lot more stable until rates are expected to slowly start reducing from the end of 2024. I have already seen a positive increase in the number of enquiries I am getting from homeowners looking to sell and upsize and this is expected to continue. I sometimes think the uncertainty is worse than the higher rates at times and now people feel this is maybe as expensive as it may get, they have the confidence to revisit those plans to move.”


Other considerations as a potential property business owner are trends in the property market, such as a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. Buyers seem to be more focused on the energy efficiency of a property over the charm of period properties, with 67% of landlords noticing less interest in period properties compared to a decade ago. This is likely due to the rising costs of running older properties, and the cost of energy bills which have prompted buyers to look for more cost-effective, energy-efficient homes. It may be worth keeping these considerations in mind when starting your property business, so you know you’re appealing to the needs of your potential customers or buyers.


How much money do you need to start a property business?


How much money you’ll need to kickstart your property business will depend on your unique, financial circumstances. It’ll also depend on the type of property you’re looking to buy, and if you need to cover other costs such as stamp duty. 


If you’re looking to buy a property to rent out, known as buy-to-let, you’ll need to consider the upfront costs of this business venture, and any ongoing costs you’ll need to cover once you’ve purchased your property. Buy-to-let mortgages work similarly to other types of mortgages, but the fees and interest rates tend to be higher. It’s likely you’ll need a deposit of at least 25% of the property’s value. You’ll then need to keep up with your mortgage repayments, but hopefully the rental income from your property will cover this. 


Other costs to keep in mind include:


  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): How much stamp duty you’ll need to pay will depend on the property’s price. For properties £40,000 and below, you won’t pay any stamp duty. Those priced up to £250,000 have a 3% buy-to-let stamp duty rate, properties priced between £250,001-£925,000 have a rate of 8% and if you’re buying a property priced between £925,0001-£1.5m, you’ll pay 13%. Looking to purchase a property of £1.5m and above? You’ll pay 15% buy-to-let stamp duty. If you’re a first-time buyer, you won’t need to pay stamp duty.

  • Legal fees: You’ll need to pay your solicitor to take care of the legal side of purchasing a property. How much these fees cost varies, so be sure to check this beforehand.

  • Ongoing costs: These are costs you’ll need to cover regularly once you’ve purchased a property, including mortgage repayments, service charges and management fees if you’d rather someone else, such as a letting agent, take care of managing your property. Letting agents will charge you the cost of advertising the property, conducting viewings and handling admin, for example.


It’s recommended that you have a starting budget of £50,000 to get your property business off the ground, but this of course depends on your unique, financial circumstances. 


Steps to starting a property business


Ready to embark on your exciting new chapter? Starting a property business could be the life-changing experience you’ve been looking for. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get started.


Read our study on the most profitable locations for a buy-to-let property business.


Begin with market research and analysis


Getting to know the market you’re looking to operate in is a key first step when starting a property business. Market research gives you insight into current trends and demands in the property market, so you know how to appeal to your customers. You’ll understand the demographics and preferences of your potential buyers or tenants, and how to differentiate yourself and your property from other property businesses. 


Business planning


Creating a comprehensive business plan is a vital part of starting your business. Your business plan is a written document outlining your business’ plans and how you’ll achieve them. It will cover your business’ strategy, financial projections, goals and what success will look like for your business. For your property business business plan, you’ll need to cover the money you have to invest, the skills and knowledge you can apply to your business and the time you’ll have to invest each week or month for your business.


If you’re looking to apply for a business loan, your bank will ask to see your business plan to know what you’re planning to use the borrowed funds for. Take a look at our guide to writing a business plan for more details. 


Legal considerations and company formation


Make sure you understand the legal considerations of starting a property business. The first step is to form your company, which you can either do yourself through Companies House which costs £50, or you can let a company formation agent take care of things for you. Here at SUAZ, we can form your company with Companies House on your behalf, completely free of charge (yes, really!). What’s more, should you need any support or advice, we’re always at hand to answer any questions.


Make sure you read up on and understand building regulations and which apply to your business. Building regulations are legal requirements that ensure the health and safety of those who live, work or use buildings. As a property owner, landlord or property management company, you’re legally required to ensure your property is safe for occupants and visitors. The government’s website explains the regulations around renting out your property


Creating a financing strategy


How you choose to finance your business is up to you and what you can afford. You may have the money available outright to cover your startup costs, or you may need to rely on one of the following financing options to get your business up and running:


  • Business loans: You can apply for a business loan through a bank and will need to repay the amount through regular repayments. How much you can borrow will usually depend on your credit history. Once you’re approved, you’ll receive the money and you’ll start making repayments, including interest, over a set term such as three years, for example.

  • Partnerships: A business partnership means forming a business with another person. Rather than taking on your business’ responsibilities alone, they’ll be shared. Both of you will contribute financially to getting the business running, and you’ll both be liable for the business’ debts.

  • Crowdfunding: This is where a ‘crowd’ funds a project, such as your property business. To raise the money you need, you’ll need to encourage investors to contribute to your business. There are different types of crowdfunding for you to consider including donation-based funding where your contributors will give money without receiving anything in return. With equity funding, investors will receive shares of your business in exchange for their contribution. Take a look at our guide to startup loans and business financing for more details. 


Understanding buy-to-let strategies


If you’re looking to start a buy-to-let business, you’ll need to get your head around and decide on the different buy-to-let strategies. The buy-to-let strategy you choose will depend on your financial circumstances, business goals and the time you have to dedicate to your new venture.


Here are the different types of buy-to-let for you to consider: 


Traditional buy-to-let 


As you may assume, a traditional buy-to-let involves you buying a property to rent out to tenants. The rent you charge should cover the mortgage payments and any other expenses, so you come out with a profit each month. 


HMOs


Houses in multiple occupation, known as HMOs, are properties shared by multiple tenants from different families. Your property would be considered an HMO if at least three tenants live there forming more than one household, and if the toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities are shared with other tenants. 


Holiday lets


Holiday lets are focused on short-term renting throughout the year. If you’re looking to start a holiday rental company, it’s important to choose the right location and property which attracts holidaymakers to ensure you’re making a consistent profit. There are various regulations you must adhere to should you run a holiday let business. Your property must be available for commercial holiday letting for at least 210 days per year, and must be actively promoted and let commercially with the intention of making a profit. The government’s furnished holiday lettings guidance explains this in greater detail. 


BRRR


Buy, refurbish, refinance, rent (BRRR) involves you buying a low-value property that needs work, refurbishing it to increase its value and then refinancing it. Once the property has increased value, you can use the money you put in to invest in another property. This is a popular buy-to-let strategy as it requires low initial capital to get started and allows you to grow your property portfolio fairly quickly.


How SUAZ can help you


Starting a property business can be life changing. Say goodbye to your regular 9-5 and embrace the world of entrepreneurship today with SUAZ. 


Our expert company formation service can take care of the hard work for you, so you can focus on the important stuff like your exciting next chapter. Form your company with SUAZ today.

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